Taking Control of Your Cancer

If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic or incurable cancer, chances are you have experienced some fear about your future.  This is a perfectly normal reaction but one you must try to not let overwhelm you.  One way to make that happen is to start making decision on your own about how to treat your cancer.  This doesn’t mean straying away from your doctor’s recommendations on traditional treatment.  If you have complete confidence in your doctor you should by all means follow their advice.

What I advocate is that you do more, over and above your doctor’s advice, to enhance your chances of living a cancer free life.  First, despite your complete confidence in your physician, or lack thereof, you should ask as many questions as possible.  If you’ve elected to do chemotherapy or radiation, you want to make sure your red and white blood count is sufficient to withstand treatment, especially chemo.  Most physicians will prescribe Neulasta, or some similar drug, to enhance your white blood count.  However, not much is prescribed for your red blood count, other than time.  If you’re like me, you don’t want to prolong your treatments any longer than necessary.  So, look into drinking chlorophyll (add drops to a glass of water) to help speed the production of red blood cells.

Another critical component of your recovery is to ensure your Vitamin D level is on the high side of normal.  Your physician should be monitoring your Vitamin D level but if not, be sure and ask him/her to do so.  Vitamin D has been shown to be very important to fighting cancer.  So, your physician should be more than happy to have your level tested.  If low, they may prescribe a pill form of Vitamin D to address the issue.  If that doesn’t work (your level should be checked at every treatment, along with other blood work), try getting a liquid Vitamin D3 supplement.  It must be from a good manufacturer, like Xymogen.

These are only a few suggestions you can undertake and still be in full compliance with your physician’s treatment.  However, you should be sure to discuss these issues with your physician once you decide to try them.  You may have individual circumstances that conflict with natural remedies so always discuss with your doctor.

Stay tuned for more tips on enhancing your chances for a cancer free life!

 

Cancer: A Challenge and an Opportunity

When you’re diagnosed with a life threatening illness like cancer, it can change your whole view of your life and your world.  If you’re not careful, you may be tempted to fall into the “why me” question.  However, you can search endlessly for the answer to that question and may never find it.  Unless, that is,  you’re thinking of your situation from a broader, more productive perspective, i.e. what can I learn from this experience?  The fact is, you have this disease so now what are you going to do about it?  You want to stay away from feeling sorry for yourself as much as possible.  Instead, how about using this as an opportunity to review your life, take an honest assessment like you’ve never done before and determine where you can make improvements.

If you regard life as a journey upon which you will encounter many lessons, and your job is to learn the lesson and grow from it, then you can regard cancer as your new lesson.  It’s not a pleasant lesson by any stretch of the imagination but most lessons from which we learn are not.  Yet, this is a golden opportunity to move forward in a more positive, productive manner. In your self-assessment, have you thought about how well you communicate with others?  Do you take their feelings into consideration?  Do you listen, really listen to them?  Do you find yourself in the exact same set of circumstances where the faces, places, and events may differ but the theme is the always the same?  If lessons aren’t learned, they’re repeated.

A more productive course in dealing with any lesson is to be appreciative (yes I know this seems counter-intuitive) and then go within for the answer. Events in our lives give us the option to react in love or react in fear.  Fear based reactions include anger, resentment, defensiveness or even silence (depending on intent).  Such reactions are part of the human experience from which we all choose.  At the same time, they are opportunities for us to choose love.  In so doing, we must think with our heart and understand that when we’re offended for instance, our offender may be operating out of fear.  A love reaction requires just that, understanding the offense and responding lovingly.   As Dr. King says,”Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can.  Hate (fear) cannot drive out hate (fear): only love can do that.”  Those words ring so much truer with me now than ever before.  Life experiences have a way of making that happen when you’re receptive.  

Quantum Health

 

There’s a lot of talk going on about how your thinking can manifest your reality.  In fact, all the buzz around The Secret focuses on just that…being able to alter your thinking to create the life you want.  Because there was no hard core scientific evidence presented to support that claim many thought it mere fantasy.  Yet, the concept of changing your thoughts to change your reality makes perfect common sense.  For that reason alone, many tried to embrace it but somehow could not bring it to fruition.   The Secret just “seemed” too simplistic.

In fact, there is plenty of scientific evidence found in quantum physics to support the basic concept of The Secret.  As Dianne Collins explains in her book Do You Quantum Think, research and studies by quantum physicists revealed that we live in an Observer-Created Reality.  These conclusions were based on a study performed by numerous quantum physicists when they attempted to use instruments to observe and measure atomic and subatomic particles.  Initially they thought the instruments were faulty but eventually uncovered that it was not the instruments but the observer that affected the movement.  Each observation, regardless of the tool being used, altered the thing being observed in a completely irreversible and often unpredictable way.  The bottom line conclusion was that the movement within atoms are completely dependent upon the observer.  Known as “the observer effect” this principle is now a central fact of the quantum world.  As humans, we are both the objective observer and subjective player in our own reality and can create desired outcomes by adjusting our intent and expectations.  Yes, this may seem far-fetched to many who have never had the good fortune to ponder such possibilities and/or have it explained to them.  However, consider the path of all successful people (however you define success) and you will note a common theme among them.  Most, if not all, say how they’ve always known, on some level, that they were either destined for something great or have always envisioned themselves doing something great.  Somewhere deep inside they “knew” and deeply believed in their desired outcome.

If you apply this same line of thinking to not only success but to health the exact same conclusion can be formed.  If someone contracts a deadly and/or chronic disease, the same principle can be applied.  Notwithstanding the fact that our Creator has an expiration date for all of us, the amount of control we have over our own health and quality of life may be greater than we think.  We’ve heard so many stories of people beating the odds.  When this happens we often chalk it up to the unknown, unexplainable, a miracle or God’s will.  Yes, it is a miracle and, if you believe in a Supreme Being, it was sanctioned by God.  Yet, could it be that we all have free will and more freedom to control our destiny than we previously thought?  Do we all have the ability to perform miraculous feats explained through quantum physics that are gifted to us from God?

I have a friend who has been battling ovarian cancer for almost 6 years.  Surgeons were never able to completely remove the tumors from her during the initial operation so she’s been on and off chemotherapy this entire time.  Last year one of her tumors grew so large it blocked her colon.  Her current doctors refused to perform a second operation and told her there was nothing more they could do.  In essence, they pretty much gave up on her.  However, she did not give up!  Being a single mother with a 10 year old son, she knew she had to live.  Although her health began to take a significant nosedive with weight loss and a more hollow appearance and concern for her survival among family and friends intensified, she fought the good fight.  Her determination to live was unwavering.  She searched and searched until she found a physician willing to attempt to remove the tumor.  The surgery, however, was only partially successful.  The entire tumor could not be removed without leaving her completely dependent upon a colostomy for the rest of her life.  Knowing this was against her wishes, the physician had to leave half the tumor in her body.  So, in addition to even more chemo, she reached outside the bounds of traditional medicine to include naturopathic treatments.  One year later, she called to advise me her tumor had been annihilated and she was back to her normal, healthy weight!!

I can’t help but believe that had she given into the odds and the beliefs of her doctors who had given up on her, that she would not be here today.  She decided NOT to buy into their observation of her circumstances.  She set her intent on survival and that’s all she entertained throughout this ordeal.  Because she wanted to live, she was able to find the physician she needed to operate and the naturopath she needed to support her with alternative treatment.  While enjoying the love and support of faithful family and friends and ignoring the doubters, she was successful in altering her “reality”.

So, is this the luck of the draw, coincidence, or her manifesting her own reality?  You decide.

Thinking Outside the Traditional Medical Box

I begin by saying that I have the utmost respect for medical doctors and love their dedication to healing people.  I am very grateful for the doctors who treated me during my illness.  As a cancer survivor, I would not have been able to advance my life to the extent I have had it not been for their contribution to my healing process.

Once I completed the necessary regimen though, of surgery and chemotherapy, I knew my healing process didn’t stop there.  This is true for anyone who experiences any kind of cancer but is especially true for those of us who face strong odds of recurrence.  In fact, healing doesn’t stop after any traditional medical treatment for any illness.  At the very least one must pay particular attention to the food they put in their body.  Nutrition is paramount to staying healthy.

My focus now, goes beyond nutrition to embracing alternative medicine.  Yes, I know many shun the idea of using herbs, supplements or any treatment that has not withstood the test of strict, scientific clinical studies.  If this is your bottom line stance, then I understand your position and must respect it.  I, on the other hand, would like to offer those who are open to thinking outside the medical box, an introduction to the concept of using alternative medicine as an adjunct or follow up to traditional medicine.

First of all, if you connect with a bona fide Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioner, they will not recommend you do anything harmful.  Herbs and supplements, if taken as suggested and purchased from a reputable supplier, are not harmful.  Hence, you have nothing to lose by using them.  As well, there are some alternative treatments, albeit with limited studies sometime, that show very positive results.  However, because there is no funding and limited interest in this country to perform the large scale scientific studies needed for absolute proof, those treatments are dismissed as ineffective by the medical community at large.

For example, Nobel-prize winning chemist, Linus Pauling, did a study on 100 patients with various cancers.  He began injecting them with mega-doses of Vitamin C under the theory that Vitamin C turns into hydrogen peroxide when injected intravenously and hydrogen peroxide kills cancer cells but doesn’t harm healthy cells.  His study, while not a true clinical double-blind study, showed improvement of many of his patients.  However, because it was not an official study, it was denounced by the medical community and Dr. Pauling was labeled a quack.  In fact, although Dr. Pauling clearly stated that the Vitamin C had to be administered intravenously to be effective, a subsequent study by the Mayo Clinic was done with oral Vitamin C and showed no improvement of cancer patients.  These findings were used to debunk the theory that Vitamin C was a cure for cancer.  Nonetheless, some scientists are continuing to follow up on Dr. Pauling’s study and are finding positive results.  In fact, in an article in www.naturalnews.com dated February 19, 2014 a team of researchers from the University of Kansas conducted studies of high doses of Vitamin C in vitro in a lab, in mice and into 22 human ovarian cells.  The results were positive in all three models.  The Vitamin C effectively targeted the cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells untouched.  The researchers admit more human trials are needed but are unlikely due to Big Pharma’s unwillingness to fund the necessary research. Big Pharma cannot patent Vitamin C so have no incentive to conduct research with it.   Still, there are ongoing studies now at other institutions (NIH – National Institute of Health, Thomas Jefferson University to name two) which are revealing more positive results.  Please be sure to read the National Cancer Institute/NIH report at www.cancer.gov at Cancer Topics for high dose vitamin C if you’re considering this therapy.

This lack of funding for non-traditional healing modalities is the reason cancer patients feel forced to rely on traditional medicine for their cures.  In fact, because the medical and pharmaceutical communities often vehemently attack alternative treatment, many people are too fearful to try them.  What I find disturbing is that the attacks often come from criticizing the limited studies conducted, yet no effort is being put forth to conduct the studies necessary to validate (or invalidate) their efficacy.

I submit that if there is no bodily harm in trying a non-traditional method that has helped others, knowing that chemotherapy is not always a cure and harms healthy cells, why not try a non-traditional method(s).  Once you do your own research, weighing the pros and cons of any non-traditional method being considered, why not try?   This is your life and you should have the final say.  While we know chemotherapy kills cancer cells, it also kills healthy cells.  Hence, any long term treatment with this drug will eventually wreak havoc on your body.  So why not either supplement chemotherapy with an alternative therapy or seek alternative treatment proactively once done with chemo.  That’s what I did.  When I finished chemo, I got Vitamin C injections monthly, then quarterly for about 18 months.  I never experienced one side effect.  I am cancer free now and plan to stay that way.

I have found the best possible way to address a recurrent cancer, when working with traditional doctors, is to use their method the first time around and then use CAM procedures once you’re considered NED (no evidence of disease) or in remission.  However, if your cancer remains and you’re told chemotherapy is to be permanently in your future, you then need to decide if you want to incorporate alternative medicine as either a supplement or perhaps even a substitute, at least temporarily, to give it a chance.  It’s your body and your life.  You have the final say.

My OVC Journey

Submitted on 2014/03/09 at 8:39 pm

Thank you Kathy for providing this place for those of us with a cancer diagnosis to post our comments and perhaps help others who are newly diagnosed.
I was diagnosed with Clear Cell ovarian cancer stage 3a in March of 2013. It’s easy to say those words now, but at the time, saying them out loud made them far too real. For those of us with no family history of this kind of cancer, the first thing we ask is “why is this happening to me?” “How could this possibly be right?”
Before diagnosis I was a healthy 59 year old woman with one grown up child and a good career. I watched my weight and diet and was always thought of by my friends as “the healthy one”.
The funny thing is, one year down the road from my diagnosis and 5 months past the completion of all my treatments. I can read the previous paragraph and say that it is all still true! Yes! Cancer can’t take all those good things away from you unless you relinquish them. I am now a 60 year old woman, with one grown up daughter and a good career. I still watch my weight and I exercise more now than I ever did. I feel more certain of my good health now than ever.
It’s true what you say about Faith. At the time one received a diagnosis such as ours, we need a strong faith in something or someone beyond ourselves. Something to focus on and move toward. Something or someone to help with the shear weight of this disease. It does feel like a physical weight, especially early on.
I think I can say I got over the whole “why me” thing very quickly. There isn’t much time for self pity. Instead I asked myself “why not me?” I’m in good company here. Cancer doesn’t differentiate between ethnicities, economic status or whether you are a good a person or not. It’s an equal opportunity disease!
I work in the health care field and have done so for 29 years. I decided to use what I know and what I could learn to give myself a better quality of life post diagnosis. The more I learned the better I felt about my future. I may have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me. I have choices which effect my outcome.
In my line of work (psychiatry), we encourage goals, both long and short terms ones. I found this helpful in our situation too. For instance, early on I made returning to my job a goal as well as eating better than before and exercising in a more productive manner. All these things have been accomplished in a short 11 months since diagnosis. I am NED (no evidence of disease) currently and I’m very humbled and grateful for that. Gratitude is a project for me now! I go out of my way to show gratitude and kindness to others on a daily basis. It feels good to be able to help others who are less fortunate. Some may say that I am the less fortunate one here. I don’t feel that way at all. Cancer isn’t something I would have desired or asked for but it has opened up a whole new phase of my life. A time of meeting truly selfless people, a time of seeing deep within my own self and exploring what is most important to me. If not for this illness I don’t know if I would have turned my eyes inward the way I have now. I know myself so much better and guess what? I like what I see!
We can’t ignore this disease, we have to acknowledge it and then move on to a positive place. My very best wishes to you Kathy and all others who find this site and find something useful to take away with them, while at the same time leaving something behind for others to find.
Bonnie

Celebrate!!

Hi Ladies,

I know anyone reading this who has experienced ovarian cancer can relate to the joy you fill when you hear the words from your doctor “clean”, “cancer-free” or “NED” (no evidence of disease). Well those are the words I heard this week at my 2 year check up! My CT scan was totally clean and my CA-125 was 3.1!! Wow! It doesn’t get much better than that! Yes, I’m overwhelmed with joy to get such a finding.

I know there are many variables and unknowns with OVC. I certainly don’t profess to have all of the answers. However, I do know I’m doing everything to empower myself to avoid ever having to hear the cancer has returned. You will periodically read here about my diet, supplements, exercise and/or spiritual pursuits that I attribute to my continued good health. I can’t attribute any one thing to a cancer-free diagnosis other than my spiritual pursuits. However, I truly do believe diet, supplements and exercise also play a role.

Many people reject the idea of diet playing a part in preventing cancer. I won’t spend time trying to defend my belief here that it does. All I suggest is that it’s a good idea to eat healthy whether you have had cancer or not. It just makes so much sense for your overall good health to eat a diet high in vegetables, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates. It’s also in everyone’s best interest to avoid too much sugar, especially those like white sugar, high fructose corn syrup and the like.

Exercise is also very important for everyone’s good health. It gets your heart pumping and boosts your immune system.

So ladies, please go for the gusto! Do everything you can to eat right, exercise and get a good grasp on what’s spiritually important to you. Can I guarantee that you won’t get cancer again if you do these things? No. However, I can guarantee that you’ll feel better. If you’re dealing with an original diagnosis or recurrence, you can focus on your spiritual beliefs for support. In time, you may be able to embrace those other aspects to enhance your health and eventually come to feel good. All of this, of course, is to add more joy to your life. You deserve it.

Surviving Cancer – Spiritually Speaking

Embracing your faith with all of your might and all of your soul is by far the most powerful thing you can do to cope with a cancer diagnosis.  If you’re devastated by the news of a cancer diagnosis then the way to counter that is by fully coming face to face with the core of your belief system.  No matter what your religious background, this is now the time to decide how serious you are about your belief system.  If you have no belief system, then now is the time to seriously consider why and what to do about it.  If this diagnosis doesn’t spark your faith, probably nothing will.  On the other hand, if you see this as an opportunity to question God then you’re well on your way to exploring your relationship with Him.

One of the most powerful things I did when told of the seriousness of my illness was to come to terms with the possibility of dying.  Once I did that, I realized I wasn’t ready because there were still so many things in life I wanted and needed to do, learn and understand.  So, I decided I needed to understand what was meant for me in this life.  I knew I hadn’t fulfilled all that I was sent here to do so I felt very comfortable knowing that if I set my mind to living my life to its fullest then I’d be allowed to live.  Some may think this is me fooling myself but if you have ever had a deep knowing, deep within your soul, you’d know exactly what I mean.  This, I believe, is the meaning of having a relationship with God, your higher self, a higher power or whatever you believe is beyond your awareness and understanding.

Of course my experience was unique to me.  Someone else with faith as strong as or stronger than mine may have a very different experience.   In fact, the point is not about whether you’re going to live or die, we’re all going to die.  The point is how well you’ll live while you’re still alive.  There are many individuals who are bed-ridden and suffering major handicaps who still live well inside their mind, in tune with a supreme being.  That, is the meaning of faith.

How do you embrace your spiritual self?  How do you establish a relationship with the higher power that controls your final destination?  How do you develop a personal relationship with God?  Prayer and meditation.  This is not a pat answer but a process.  It’s a process you must learn to develop by embracing whatever philosophy resonates with your soul to understand the mind of God.  There are many different ways to do this depending on your religious and spiritual frame of reference and belief system.  Just understand it is doable.  I will discuss some of these methods in future blogs.  I will also leave it wide open for others to contribute their thoughts and success stories.

 

Nutritionally Speaking

Once you’ve absorbed the shock of your diagnosis, the next step is to rise above it into a state of action.  In order to do that, you have to think in terms of action.  It’s important to dwell on what you can do to overcome the odds.  The key is to continue to think of yourself as a healthy person with a temporary illness.  It doesn’t matter if the illness is classified as chronic or incurable, what matters is how you think of yourself.  If you think along the lines of overcoming a challenge and the steps associated with that then you’re well on your way to living a life of joy.

Joy will come in the form of an inner knowing that you can do everything in your power to live with dignity and quality for as long as the good Lord allows.  No one has total control over their life, that’s left to a much higher power!  However, you can take charge of your life while you have it to live.  You can become proactive in your quest to live a good quality life.

So, what are some of the things you can do?  First of all, on the nutrition side, you can eliminate most sugars from your diet, especially white processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup.  These two products are stripped of any nutritional value in the processing and cause your glycemic index to soar.  When your glycemic index rises, the blood sugar level in your body rises causing your body to produce more insulin.  Cancer feeds off of sugar.  Yes, doctors will tell you that all cells in your body feed off of sugar.  However, your body only needs sugar, i.e. glucose from healthy foods that turn into glucose when digested but do not cause an excessive rise in your blood sugar level.  This rise in insulin and blood sugar is what excites cancer cells.  Hence, any sugar that causes a spike in blood sugar should be avoided.

The one sweetener that seems to be agreed upon by most every nutritionist and naturopath I’ve ever researched is Stevia.  All seem to agree that Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the stevia plant and is normally processed in such a manner that it’s not stripped of any nutrients.  Yet, for many of us, it leaves an after taste.  Another alternative is Agave Nectar.  However, depending on what article or study you read, Agave is sometimes thought to be not much better than high fructose corn syrup.  That’s because some agave syrups are processed at high temperatures for an extended period of time, resulting in a product with a high fructose level.  Yet, many alternative practitioners believe Agave is a good substitute for sugar.  The key here is to try to determine how the product is processed.  If it claims to have a very low glycemic index, then the logical conclusion is that it does not contain a high fructose level since high fructose spikes blood sugar levels.

Another sweetener that many alternative practitioners advocate is Xylitol.  For those with a sensitivity to this product an excessive amount may cause diarrhea or loose stools.  However, this is not a standard reaction, just one to note for some.  Also, if you use this sweetener, you should purchase Xylitol made from the Birch tree.  Xylitol is also made from corn and that process is not as healthy for you, especially since almost all corn grown is this country is genetically modified.  Xylitol tastes more like sugar, has a very low glycemic index (7, as compared to 100 for regular sugar) and has 40% fewer calories than sugar.

In addition to using the above sweeteners, you should read the labels of every product you buy because sugar or high fructose corn syrup is in almost everything!  Some producers are starting to understand this and are now using alternative sweeteners like Stevia or Xylitol.  The important thing is to become more conscientious when shopping.  You have to become a chronic label reader.  The less unhealthy sugar in your body, the better off you are.  Cancer does love sugar so you don’t want to use it in excess.  Do not be afraid to question your physicians when they claim your body needs sugar.  Yes it does but only healthy sugars and not in excessive quantities!!

Facing a Challenging Illness

Hi Ladies,

 

I wanted to start this blog for all of the women out there who are scared stiff because they’ve been given an incurable and/or chronic cancer diagnosis.  I have spoken many times to women frozen with fear once they’ve received this diagnosis.  Cancer in general is a fearful thing to live with but when your cancer has a high rate of recurrence and comes with unfavorable survival statistics, it can be paralyzing.

I know because I was given such a diagnosis.  In October 2011 I was diagnosed with stage 3c ovarian cancer.  I didn’t know much about ovarian cancer other than it was cancer of the ovaries.  I had no clue that the statistics associated with it were so dismal.  I thought I would just get chemo and then be okay.  When my doctor first told me she thought that’s what I had, I couldn’t really wrap my head around the news.  Then she referred me to a gynecological oncologist who would probably perform a biopsy to verify her diagnosis.  However, before I even had a chance to visit his office for my scheduled appointment, his office called me to schedule surgery!!  Needless to say I was stunned beyond belief.  Yet, I still was expecting to be permanently cured.  I just thought I had to go through an ugly period of an operation and chemo before I was set free.  So, when I returned to my surgeon’s office after surgery for a check-up, I asked him what I thought was a rhetorical question.  I asked him if I’d be okay once I finished chemo, totally expecting him to say yes.  Imagine my surprise when he said probably not, that I had a 75% chance of recurrence.  So, I then asked him again, “so if I finish chemo the 2nd time, then I’d be okay, right”?  I don’t know why I asked him such a silly question.  I think I was going to keep asking him this question until he said yes.  However, I quickly began to realize he was never going to say yes.

When I left my doctor’s office I was in a daze!  Eventually, I came out of my comatose-like state to face the reality of what he said.  I lived a very short period of being fearfully frozen and then I snapped back into reality.  My inner voice told me I had to deal with this and become proactive.  That led me to research all the horrible statistics about late stage ovarian cancer.  My cancer was considered late stage because it had partially invaded nearby organs and probably gone into my lymph nodes.  Recurrence of this stage cancer ranges from 70 to 80% depending on what site you read.  Survival beyond 5 years can range from 35 to 55%.  Not good!  So, facing these odds I needed to know what I could do to beat them.  Facing your own mortality and/or an alternate way of life from what you’re used to can be daunting.  However, once I faced these issues head on my mindset opened into areas of my psyche and spirituality I never explored before.  I also came face to face with the survival part of me I never even knew existed.  To this day, I continue to deal with inner battles I need to overcome to live my best life ever.  It’s a continuous learning and growing process but it’s given me such a new perspective of life that I find inspiring and amazing.

So, the survival part of me decided I needed to become proactive in my spiritual, nutritional, and physical life so I could endure the challenges this disease posed.  In doing so, I learned and am learning a wealth of information on how to minimize stress, eliminate unhealthy eating and engage in spiritual practices that relax my mind and connects me with the God spirit within me to sustain me through these challenging times.  I am anxious to share all that I have learned with others.

For anyone interested, I want to use this site to talk about some of the nutritional things I’ve learned that can help ward off a recurrence and some of the alternative treatments that are touted for doing the same.  I’m excited about the things I’ve learned and hope there are many women out there who want to share their experiences.  I also want to make myself totally available for women who are just starting this journey and may need help moving beyond the fear.